BJP’s Bengal push has begun with the arrival of Amit Shah, who is setting the ground for next year’s Assembly elections.
Shah, who is on a two-day visit, will hold meetings with the party leadership and issue a blueprint for the 2021 elections. BJP leaders confirmed the home minister will be leading the party in next year’s state election.
Shah on Thursday visited Bankura, a Maoist-infested area that has been a victim of backwardness in the state. The step is being seen as an attempt to create a large support base for the party in the state, primarily Jungle Mahal, the erstwhile stronghold of Maoists.
On Shah’s visit, BJP MP Subhash Sarkar said: “Through Jungle Mahal, he is starting his journey for the rest of Bengal”.
BJP is currently focusing on its weakness in south Bengal. It lost all nine seats in South Bengal in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
However, the party registered a sweep in almost 10 North Bengal districts, with 40.5 per cent vote share across the state.
Looks like with Shah’s entry, the party is trying to cash in on this momentum to position itself against the Mamata Banerjee government.
Shah said he could sense the massive public anger against the government, before adding the death knell on Mamata’s regime has rung.
After garlanding a statue of freedom fighter Birsa Munda in Bankura, Shah said: “I can see in the eyes of people the hope for change in West Bengal that is possible only under the leadership of our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji.”
Expressing confidence, he said: “We will form the next government in Bengal with a two-third majority.” He also accused the chief minister of creating roadblocks to stop benefits of central schemes from reaching the poor.
The visit follows Kolkata police roughing up several BJP workers participating in a rally against deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
The cops physically mauled the workers and forcefully lifted some of them off the road. Reportedly, several BJP Mahila Morcha workers were physically manhandled in the ensuing skirmish.
It would be interesting to see if Kingmaker Amit Shah would paint Bengal saffron.